The Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Water and Sanitation and Human Settlements met virtually with representatives from the Department of Cooperative Governance, Department of Traditional Affairs and the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency to receive briefings on their 2021/2022 Annual Performance Plans and budget allocations. The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs was also present in the meeting.
The Department of Cooperative Governance reported that it had a total budget allocation for programme and sub-programmes is about R78.432 billion. The total number of its Key Performance Indicators is 35, with key line function programmes having the most – 12 and nine, respectively.
The Committee was pleased with the presentation from Department of Cooperative Governance and commented that the inclusion of the gender-responsive targets and indicators in the District Development Model will go a long way in the fight against Gender-based Violence and Femicide in the country.
The Committee was concerned about the municipalities’ expenditure on the Municipal Infrastructure Grant and wanted to know if the Department has made provisions on improving the poor spending by municipalities. A Member asked what the Department is going to do specifically with those municipalities that would love to spend the grants but are unable to because of not having the capacity to do so.
The Department reassured the Committee that it has amended the Grant framework to ensure that firstly, there is a ringfenced five percent that is going to focus on assisting municipalities to build their asset management plans on how they are going to respond to the infrastructure challenges. There is also a 10% that is ringfenced for repairs and maintenance, and this approach provides municipalities the ability to start planning appropriately in terms of their long-term infrastructure plans but also ensuring that they have plans of how to maintain their assets.
The Department of Traditional Affairs said that one of the targets under programme one (Administration) was effective governance of the Department. For programme two (Research, Policy and Legislation), one of the main departmental outcomes that contributes to achieving the MTSF is the establishment of functional institution of Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership. For programme three, Institutional Support and Coordination, one of the departmental outcomes is to realise developed communities in areas of traditional leadership.
For the 2021/22 financial year, the budget allocation as percentage per economic classification is as follows: 48% towards compensation of employees, 23% on goods and services, 27% transfers and subsidies as well as 2% towards the payments for capital assets.
On the Traditional Affairs presentation, the Committee was concerned about the implementation of the Customary Initiation Act and felt that the Department is not doing enough to educate the communities and the people who are directly affected. The Committee was also concerned about the implementation of the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act and the inclusion of the demands of the Khoi and the San people. The Department said that the Customary Initiation Act has not been signed into law as yet, and the Department is putting the publicising work on hold until the Act has been assented to by the President. The Department also noted the Committee’s concerns about the Leadership Act and added that in part, the Deputy Minister, in his outreach programme, is trying to address the needs that are there on the ground now that the Act has come into operation. The Department also acknowledged that the issues pertaining to the Khoi and the San are difficult to conclude.
The Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency presentation reflected all 32 outputs indicators and corresponding annual targets over the Medium-Term Expenditure period. In terms of total resource consideration, the total adjusted appropriation for 2020/21 was about R339.849 million. The expenditure framework projection of the 2021/22 year is about R394.864 million.
In terms of the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency presentation, the Committee wanted to know the criteria that the Agency uses to choose the municipalities and provinces that they assist, as well as if they have enough capacity to assist the municipalities and provinces in the country. The Agency said that it does not have sufficient resources, as their budget has been cut, but the expectations in terms of the work that they do has increased tremendously. They said that they would appreciate a little growth in their budget and added that the Minister as well as the Department have tried to ensure that they get the necessary support from National Treasury. The process is underway to make sure that they are supported.
Opening Remarks by the Chairperson
The Chairperson opened the virtual meeting and welcomed the representatives from the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) as well as the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency (MISA). He acknowledged the presence of the Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, in the meeting. He said that this term of Parliament is going to be very hectic, as the Annual Performance Plans (APPs) and budget allocations of different departments will be considered. There will be debates and discussions on whether the APPs and budgets can be adopted. He said that the Committee is going to do everything in its power to ensure that it interact appropriately and ensures that it understands better what the specific departments are saying, so that they can have an impact in their work and practice their oversight in ensuring that the departments accomplish their objectives.
He then handed over to the Department of Cooperative Governance to proceed with its presentation.
Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, said that the presentation of the APPs and budget allocations will include functions of the National House of Traditional Leaders, National Demarcation Board, South African Local Government Association (SALGA), the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) as well as MISA. The NDMC forms part of the DCOG APP. MISA and other departments have prepared separate presentations that may not necessarily be presented during this meeting. She said that because South Africa aspires to be a developmental state, Cooperative Governance also has the responsibility of marshalling all of society – including the institutions of traditional leadership behind their common objective of delivering a better life for all. This objective requires a critical ingredient of resilient, prosperous, caring, coherent collected and sustainable, safe and climate smart communities. “Consequently, the true measure of what we have achieved or not achieved really lies in all of society and the APPs of every Department in the national entity”, she added.
She said that they are beginning to find harmony with the National House of Traditional Leaders critically because of their revolutionary Invest Rural Masterplan, which will transform the economic, social and cultural landscape of rural South Africa. “We are finding each other with a broader sector as we work together through the joint meetings, which we host with the Minister of Human Settlements, Water Affairs and Sanitation”, she said. She added that they are also actively and collectively identifying challenges and seeking solutions with SALGA, as they undertake the 21-year review and edge towards the local government elections.
Through their District Development Model (DDM), they are also in collaboration with other departments. DCOG has found gaps in the Disaster Management Framework and intends to strengthen it through, amongst other things, appointing the Advisory Board. Minister Dlamini-Zuma said that they are forever thankful for the support they have received from the Committee and are certain that they can rely on it, as they reshape key programmes such as the Community Works Program (CWP). “We are ever-conscious that the road ahead requires that our Department and entities act as one, and we will endeavour to present less targets and indicators in future so that we display integration and ensure maximum impact”, she added. DCOG will also endeavour to sequence its actions such that it also adds value into the work of other departments. They thus present the APP as pointing to the road ahead because they are conscious that they are not there yet. The road is long and with many challenges, and DCOG hopes that they can rely on the steady and guiding hand of the community to accelerate them and get them there.
She then handed over to the Director-General to proceed with the presentation of the 2021/22 APP and budget allocations for DCOG.
Department of Cooperative Governance 2021/22 APP
Ms Avril Williamson, Director-General, DCOG, presented on the 2021/22 APP for DCOG, which presented the five departmental priorities and strategic outcomes, as well as the budget allocations for five of their programmes and sub-programmes in detail.
The total number of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is 35, with key line function programmes having the most – 12 and nine, respectively. These programmes are the Local Government Support and Interventions Management (LGSIM) as well as Institutional Development (ID). The other targets: seven for administration, four for the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) as well as three for Community Work Programme (CWP). The complete breakdown of the outputs as well as the annual targets for each of the programmes can be found in the presentation document.
She reported that for the 2021/22, the total budget allocation for programme and sub-programmes is about R78.432 billion. This breaks down to R210.009 million for current payments; R41.378 million for compensation of employees; another R168.631 million towards the compensation of employees and then remainder will be allocated towards transfers and subsidies. For the two subsequent years, the MTEF is expected to rise to around R83 billion.
Mr E Mthethwa (ANC, KZN) said that in programme one, the compensation of employees (CoE) for 2023/24 is declining to a level of almost 83% and asked for an explanation from the Department on how they are dealing with these payments and whether it is because they are retrenching to maintain themselves. He wanted to know the plan that the Department has in order to sustain itself in light of the cutdown. He also wanted to know the Department’s plan for the improvement of the CWP, as the programme is one of the programmes that pushes the Department to qualified audits.
Ms S Shaikh (ANC, Limpopo) enquired about Programme one. With regard to the District Development Model (DDM), the inclusion of gender responsive targets and indicators in the DDM Framework should be commended, as it will go a long way to responding to the Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) crisis in the country. She asked the Department to expand on how this target will also filter down to municipalities.
With regard to the allocations spent on municipal infrastructure, she said that the Committee is aware of the challenges that municipalities have, especially concerning the maintenance of the MIG (Municipal Infrastructure Grant) infrastructure and also in terms of dealing with aging infrastructure that also requires serious intervention. She asked for an indication of the kinds of resources there are or if there are sufficient resources to deal with the MIG infrastructure problems in municipalities. She said that the Committee is also aware that municipalities are not utilising the funding for its intended services and asked how the Department plans to address the issue. In terms of the priority districts that are supported to include water infrastructure, she wanted to know the districts that are considered priority districts and whether this will only be determined after the DDM one plans are submitted. She asked the Department for clarity on the new CWP implementation Model, which will be developed and approved by the Minister by 30 September, 2021.
Mr I Sileku (DA, Western Cape) said that the presentation from the Department lacked what has been achieved so far in terms of the current APP. He said that in Programme one, he would have liked to know the target of the previous year in terms of the reports on investigations on corruption cases. He wanted to get clarity on whether the 90% of reported cases investigated is a target for the current year or if it is an achievement of the previous financial year.
In terms of the offices that the Department is using, he wanted to know the number of offices that are currently being rented by the Department if there are any; if they are not renting, he wanted to know how much they have paid for their offices. “This is because the Department uses a lot of money in renting office space instead of planning for having their own offices”, he explained.
In terms of the expenditure of the MIG allocation per municipality, he said that some municipalities do not have the capacity to spend these grants because the municipalities are mostly urban, some are rural, and some are in the metros. He added that if 85% of the MIG allocation is spent by the municipalities and there is no capacity given to the municipalities, then there will not be any movement in that regard. He asked the Department to expand in terms of what they are going to do specifically with those municipalities that would love to spend the MIG grants but are unable to because of not having the capacity to do so.
In terms of MPAC (Municipal Public Accounts Committee) functionality, Mr Sileku asked the Department to elaborate on what they are looking for and what they would like to achieve because one the issues encountered in local government when it comes to oversight bodies is the lack of MPAC functionality. In some municipalities MPACs belong to the governing party and as a result, the Committee does not play an effective oversight role. “If we are going to continue in that way, where the player and the referee come from the same household, we are not going to see any change when it comes to consequence management”, he said.
He said that in the CWP projects that are currently being implemented in municipalities, people do not work; he added that this makes him question whether there is value for money when it comes to CWP projects. He wanted to know what the Department plans to do if they are not getting value for money and how they plan to ensure that each and every programme that is being implemented in the municipalities get value for money. He also asked for an elaboration from the Department about the target of 25 000 CWP participants trained annually by 31 March 2022. He wanted to know what they want to train them on and the plan for the exit strategy on CWP so that these people become employable at the end of the day.
Mr G Michalakis (DA, Free State) wanted to know why the Monitoring and Intervention Bill is not a priority and the cause for the delay. This is because it is important to have at least some guidelines with regards to interventions and it is the one mechanism that can help ensure that municipalities that are failing can be brought back to where they are supposed to be. He said that not having the proper guidelines of how interventions should work renders the system ineffective and people are losing faith in interventions; he asked the Department to explain why it is taking so long. “A piece of legislation that is so important should actually be the number one priority when it comes to your legislative agenda”, he added. He also wanted to know if there is any provision made for minimum standards for administrators in the draft of the Bill.
Ms C Visser (DA, North West) said that she is concerned about the current trajectory of collapsing municipalities and wanted to know how the Department will ensure implementation of the DDM since all former plans of the Department failed to ensure that all the municipalities perform their basic responsibilities and functions consistently. She also wanted to know how the Department will support the delivery of municipal services to the right quality and standard while promoting good governance.
The Chairperson said that in the next two months there will be elections, which means that out of those elections there will be new councillors. Political parties will bring in a lot of people without knowledge and experience of local government and such people need to be taken into the process of orientation and induction. He wanted to know the level of readiness of the Department in respect to executing the function of induction and orientation. He said that this is an important step that needs to be taken because if they fail to do that, then the problems in terms of local government are going to perpetuate. It bothers him that political parties do not send people with the requisite skills and expertise as well as trainee experience as councillors at the municipal level. He wanted to know if it is possible that the Department can have a programme to motivate and encourage political parties to select councillors with the required skills and expertise and more importantly with the right moral refuge.
Ms Williamson allowed the Deputy Director-Generals for each of their five outlined programmes to respond to questions relating to their specific programmes.
Mr Peter Pretorius, Deputy Director-General: Corporate Services, DCOG, responded to questions relating to programme one. He said that in terms of the reduction of the budget for compensation of employees, they would try to apply the majority of the reduction in programme one, as they would prefer to not reduce capacity in their core branches. He said that the only way they can do this is to automate business processes, but they will not be doing this through retrenchments. There are a number of vacant posts that the Department will be un-funding and over the next three years when the posts become vacant, the department will not be filling those posts but will be scaling down the actual compensation of employees.
In terms of CWPs, he said that since last year they held meetings with all the working staff and those meetings resulted in a significant improvement, specifically in the areas related to advances made to NPOs (non-profit organisations) that were unaccounted for at the beginning of the previous financial year. It was R257 million, which was broken down and at the beginning of this financial year; it was R62 million, which is still work in progress. This was one of the areas of concern for the Auditor-General.
He said that they have reassigned responsibilities in the branch and introduced more capacity in key areas, which is also an ongoing process, but they have removed some of the functions that are not critical and have asked officials to rather focus on improving their programmes and project management over the branch. The AG so far has been satisfied with the progress that has been made on addressing the material irregularities and is confident that if they can continue with the current policy, they will be able to get rid of most if not all of the critical findings related to the CWP during the current financial year.
Mr Pretorius said that in terms of the CWP model, they have already made a few small changes to how they will implement the model, particularly how they will deal with the financial matters related to the NPOs. But the bigger question relates to the usefulness of the work that is being done as well as the training that participants are undergoing. As far as the work packages are concerned, at the moment, that is primarily determined by local referencing committees. The Department does not dictate the type of work that has to be done so local referencing committees’ representatives from the local community; the local municipality and traditional authorities, where applicable, are involved in the referencing committees and they decide how the work packages are designed. The Department is planning to make sure that they align CWP work to the DDM to ensure that the CWP work directly supports and complements what they have been to achieve in terms of the DDM in the different districts. The Department is also looking at ways of improving how they procure training but also to be more prescriptive in the types of training that need to be undertaken.
In terms of how the Department sees the model evolving in the future, he said that they are going to have much stronger partnerships with government entities, government agencies such as the Small Business Development Agency (SBDA) and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) since those agencies have the ability to exit or transition into more useful or more permanent self-employed options. This is going to be necessary because the Department itself does not have a mandate or funding to fund small businesses on sustainable basis. So if CWP can only fund the stipends paid to participants, it is essential for the Department to partner with those government agencies that have the ability to transition people out of temporary work like the CWP and into more sustainable options.
In terms of the offices, he said that the Department currently spends approximately R4.4 million a month or R53 million a year in renting four offices. The Department has already been in consultation with the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, and they have identified a site to construct the government owned property for the whole family of departments, which will include the DTA affairs, MISA, etc. This project is likely to take the next five to six years to finish and in the interim. The Department is seeking to consolidate its offices into one office space and is finalising the tender process with the DPWI, which would also reduce the expenditure on the office space. He added that with the new working arrangements that emerged due to COVID-19, it is clear that the Department does not need the amount of office space that it currently has.
Mr Themba Fosi, Deputy Director-General: Local Government Support and Interventions Management, DCOG, responded to questions relating to programme two. He said that in terms of the GBVF targets, the way that they are currently drafted is to ensure that in the planning processes. The targets that are set in the in the GBVF programmes from the Department of Women inform the overall approach that government must take. Those targets and indicators will be included in the IDT guidelines that must inform how municipalities plan for them and also in the DDM framework, which will require the municipalities to include and mainstream in their planning processes and budgeting processes so that they can also be held accountable based on the set of indicators. These indicators are not only for local government, but all the spheres of government also have a concrete set of indicators that they are expected to account for.
In terms of MIG infrastructure, he said that the major challenge that South African has, as a country, is that the focus has been on the building of new infrastructure, and what has emerged is that for variety of reasons is that municipalities have not been able to maintain the new infrastructure that was provided. The Department has amended the MIG framework to ensure that, firstly, there is a ringfenced 5% that is going to focus on assisting municipalities to build their asset management plans on how they are going to respond to the infrastructure challenges. There is also a 10% that is ringfenced for repairs and maintenance, and this approach provides municipalities the ability to start planning appropriately for their long-term infrastructure plans but also ensuring that they have plans of how to maintain their assets.
He said that in terms of the priority infrastructure projects, the Department, working with MISA, has done an assessment on the districts that have underground water and there are about eight provinces that they will be focusing on to look at the districts that have challenges of drought as well as the districts that have potential of having underground water. He said that they will not only focus on bulk infrastructure projects but also on small-scale schemes that assist in terms of improving access to water in the drought-stricken communities. He said that within the MIG framework, there is a five percent that municipalities are allocated to appoint Project Management Units (PMUs) and the issues that need to be looked at include the utilisation of the five percent and ensuring that the right people are recruited to provide support to municipalities in terms of coordinating the MIG infrastructure and building capacity for its maintenance. He said that MISA is also providing capacity support engineers to municipalities that are struggling, and the Department has prioritised the struggling municipalities with the improvement plans on how to improve their spending.
In terms of the Monitoring and Intervention Bill, he said that the Department has passed some of the hurdles that delayed their implementation of the Bill and added that they were undertaking consultative processes with roadshows, led by the Deputy Minister, to engage with provinces and municipalities. The target is that at least by June 2021 they will have concluded the consultation and then the Bill will be ready to be tabled before Cabinet. If Cabinet is happy with the Bill, the legislative process will be followed through introducing it to Parliament for processing and the Bill also provides the proper guidelines and interventions. The Bill provides for the creation of a database of administrators at the national level, which even provinces can draw from in terms of interventions that will be invoked at that level. The database will be informed by a clear set of minimum standards in terms of the competences that the administrators that will be in the national database should have. He said that the approach to the DDM was focusing on ensuring that the Department assists the districts to develop clear long-term developmental plans and also on the municipalities themselves in terms of understanding the approach that the Department is taking in doing an assessment of the implementation capabilities in the municipalities in looking at the available skills in terms of systems and processes, whether in financial management, infrastructure delivery, etc. This will assist the Department to be able to coordinate all the capacity building programmes and support that is provided to the districts in a targeted way informed by a clear assessment that is done on understanding the challenges whether on infrastructure or financial management, etc. The Bill also puts the principle of monitoring and support as a requirement before an intervention can even be considered. It will affirm the section 154 support as a requirement to ensure that the Department is able to forecast in targeted way on how it can support the municipalities in distress to address some of the key challenges.
Dr Manyedi Nkashe, Deputy Director-General: Institutional Development, DCOG, said that the Department is working with the HAWKS and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) in investigating 314 cases, of which 80 of the cases are currently in court and 173 cases are under investigation and the last 61 cases have been referred to the NPA for decision-making whether to prosecute or not prosecute. The Department is part of the anti-corruption task team alongside the HAWKS and the SIU. There are also cases that are being investigated by the Department under section 106, which are under review, that were referred by the provinces. When the Department receives cases from the provinces, they analyse them to see if the cases require further investigation or if they can close the cases because of lack of evidence. But where there is information that is justifiable to further investigation, the Department then refers the case to either the HAWKS or the SIU. Currently, the Department has referred 18 cases to the HAWKS to investigate further and another 12 cases that have been referred to the SIU assist them in investigations. The Department also has a local anti-corruption government strategy that has been rolled out into all the 257 municipalities, including metros, and are currently in the process of reviewing its impact by analysing the data that they have collected from the municipalities.
The Department is also part of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy whereby the Department’s strategy was also incorporated into the bigger strategy of the country. Dr Nkashe said that they also provide training to municipal officials and give them information on how to prevent and detect corruption within their municipalities. In enforcing the fight against corruption and fraud in municipalities, the Department has also formed a structure with Ethics SA and Moral Regeneration with Sports and Local Government Ethics Leadership. He said that they are also in the process of establishing a Local Government Anti-Corruption Forum in partnership with the SIU. They have invited all the provinces to form part of the forum so that they can have a committee with representation from all the provinces so that during investigations, they can share information easily and the SIU will be their depositary where they will submit all cases from the provinces. The Department is also in the process of entering an MOU with the HAWKS, where they would like to introduce every anti-corruption structure in local municipalities and the provinces to the HAWKS. This is supposed to make things easier for all the units to receive feedback directly from the HAWKS on their case submissions.
He said that they are forming another MoU with Financial Intelligence and the purpose of this is to try and be proactive in sharing the financial information of every member in local governments with Financial Intelligence, so that they can keep profiling members on the financial audits instead of waiting until someone commits a serious crime. He said that the Western Cape currently has 58 cases and 30 of those are in court and there are 27 cases under investigation. Eastern Cape has 54 cases, with 20 in court and 27 under investigation. Northern Cape has 18 cases, with seven cases in court and 11 under investigation. Free States has 22 cases, with 10 cases currently in court and six under investigation. KZN has 33 cases, with four cases currently in court. He said that he does not have the statistics for other provinces, but they are a little lower than the provinces mentioned.
Ms Williamson said that the Members’ observations are correct around the Department’s budget allocations, specifically around the cost of employment being reduced over the Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) by National Treasury. She said that this is a mandatory reduction that was actually imposed on all departments. The process is also to ensure that the Department revisits its budget from the staffing perspective and look at how they can manage this through natural attrition. She reassured the Select Committee that the Department is certainly not looking at retrenching staff at this point.
In terms of the functionality of the MPACs, she said that the Department is in collaboration with National Treasury and SALGA, who support them in the way that they conduct their work and that they have also made a specific provision in the Structures Bill in order to be able to regulate the MPACs and how they perform their functions. In terms of the Councils and building their capacity, she said that the intention is to rollout an induction programme in collaboration with the National School of Government and also with SALGA.
Minister Dlamini-Zuma said that the observation from the Committee that the CWP workers, in many areas, do not really do much work is correct and it has been her observation and the observation of the Department too. She said that it is for this reason that they are pushing for the redesigning of the CWP because at the moment the CWPs are not run by the Department, but they are run by the NPOs. The training has to be done by the NPOs, so it does not matter what numbers are put behind by the Department.
The Chairperson said that the Committee will follow up on the Department’s engagements throughout the year. He then allowed the Department of Traditional Affairs (DTA) to proceed with their presentation.
Presentation by the Department of Traditional Affairs on its 2021/22 APP
Mr Mashwahle Diphofa, Director-General, DTA, presented the 2021/22 APP for the DTA. The presentation spoke to the outcomes, outputs, output indicators and annual targets of the DTA, as well as the three programmes and the budget allocations over the medium-term period.
One of the targets under programme one (Administration) was effective governance of the Department. The output indicator for the annual target is to achieve 80% in implementing performance indicators or actions in the Organisational Performance Information Compliance Management Plan, in order to contribute towards good governance by the Department. This is also meant to ensure that the Department complies with all the timeframes with regard to organisational performance information management and reporting.
For programme two (Research, Policy and Legislation), one of the main departmental outcomes that contributes to achieving the MTSF is the establishment of functional institution of Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership. The output indicator for one of the targets will be reflected in the number of Kingships and Queenships Royal Families monitored on implementation of the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act (TKLA) as well as the framework on resolution of traditional leadership disputes and claims.
For programme three, Institutional Support and Coordination, one of the departmental outcomes is to realise developed communities in areas of traditional leadership. The Department plans to monitor at least eight provinces on the participation of Local Houses of Traditional Leaders in government development programmes, in terms of the DDM. This will assist in ensuring that the development needs of traditional communities are included in the One Plans of municipalities for implementation. The development of traditional communities will contribute towards the upliftment of traditional communities thereby addressing the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequalities.
For the 2021/22 financial year, the budget allocation as percentage per economic classification is as follows: 48% towards compensation of employees, 23% on goods and services, 27% transfers and subsidies as well as 2% towards the payments for capital assets. The total adjusted budget allocation 161685 for the year 2020/21 about R161.685 million. The MTEF estimate for 2021/22 is R171.392 million; the allocations for the subsequent years can be found in the presentation document.
[See presentation document for more details]
Mr Mthethwa commended the Department for sorting out the issue of the traditional leaders Bill that was loose open in terms of the traditional leader’s ability to sign contracts and participate within their municipalities. He said that the area had potential of becoming disastrous, especially if they could sign agreements on land that is in their possession to foreigners – which tends to not assist their people in any way and rather leads to exploitation.
The Chairperson said that conflicts within the traditional council arise as a result of traditional councils not being properly elected and, in some provinces, they use other agencies, including the IEC to conduct the elections for the traditional councils. He said that he finds it very useful to ensure that the provincial councils are democratic and fair and that people with good intentions stand for the elections and are elected. He said that in terms of this programme, he does not see how the Department seeks to collaborate with provinces to ensure that when the elections are taking place, they assist so that the component of the traditional councils are people who are properly elected.
In terms of the Customary Initiation Act, he said that when it was passed last year, there were a lot of concerns. He added that he is happy that the Minister has been engaging with people to ensure that a body is in place make sure that they advise the Minister of ways to push the Act forward. He said that one of the issues that were raised at the time was the need to publicise the Act and teach the communities because the dispensation that came as a result of the Customary Initiation Act is going to comply with the Constitution.
The Chairperson said that he does not see how the Department intends to ensure that it provides the training and the capacity of communities in order to ensure that the Act gets the necessary prominence that it needs to be followed and observed by the communities. He said that the introduction of the TKLA is also an issue for him because the Department needs to ensure that it has the necessary capacity to solve the implementation of the legislation. He said that about a month ago he was told that the Khoi and the San leaders were at the Union Buildings in protest for the Act to be passed and wanted to know if the people are still there. He wanted to know why there has been no attempt to engage with them in order to ensure that their issues are addressed and a suitable solution is found for them, as they have been there for a very long time. He said that there needs to be some sort of intervention to assist them if they are still camping outside the Union Buildings.
Responses by DTA
Mr Diphofa said that the issue of the election processes is an area of focus, and the Deputy Minister has started on a national outreach programme, where he is moving from province to province to talk specifically about the rollout of the implementation of this new piece of legislation, which includes the issue of the elections of members of traditional councils. The Department has taken what the Act provides for and came up with a schedule of activities, which they have provided to each province in the build-up to the election – outlining what they are allowed to do and what they are not allowed to do. The Department will be monitoring this from national level to make sure that they are able to identify areas where there might be a risk of non-compliance. The national outreach starts tomorrow in the Northern Cape, where the Deputy Minister will be meeting with the Provincial House of Traditional Leaders, the MEC, officials as well as with the representatives of Khoi and San leaders, to discuss this.
On publicising the Customary Initiation Act, he said that the issue is that it has not been signed into law as yet, and the Department is putting the publicising work on hold until the Act has been signed into law by the President.
He said that they have noted the Chairperson’s concerns about the TKLA and added that in part, the Deputy Minister, in the outreach programme, is trying to address the needs that are there on the ground now that the Act has come into operation. He said that the last time that they checked, the Khoi and San leaders that were at the Union Buildings are still there and added that there have been some engagements with them, some engagements led by COGTA, and some led by the Presidency. He said that the tricky part is that some of the issues that get raised then become very difficult to resolve immediately. For example, they say they want the restoration of the land that was taken away from them, and when they are told about the process that government has embarked on in terms of land restitution, they say the process is taking too long. They have also raised an issue about them being the First Nation in Southern Africa and want the government to recognise that status. When they are told that the Constitution of the country does not recognise ‘first-class’ and ‘second-class’ citizens and that it would be difficult to accommodate that into the Constitution, they say that they are not leaving the union buildings until the issue is addressed. The other issue that they have brought up during the engagements was that the use of the word ‘Coloured’ is offensive and that they prefer the use of Khoi and San to describe them. The other issue is that there are those who self-identify as Coloureds in the country and would not prefer to be called anything else, which makes it even more difficult for the Department to solve. He said that the engagements are continuing but the demands are not easy.
Presentation by the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency on its 2021/22 APP
Mr Ntandazo Vimba, CEO, MISA, presented the APP (2021/22). The Agency had tabled its approved APP for 2021/22 financial year in Parliament on 15th March 2021. This APP is based on the current Strategic Plan (SP), with eight outcomes and 15 outcomes indicators covering the five-year period 2020-2025. Through both the SP and APP, MISA seeks to contribute to the achievement of outcomes aligned to relevant priorities in the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) for 2019-2024. This presentation reflects all 32 outputs indicators and corresponding annual targets over the MTEF period. It also gives a summary of financial resources allocated to the Agency over the three-year period of the current MTEF.
In terms of total resource consideration, the total adjusted appropriation for 2020/21 was about R339.849 million. The MTEF projection of the 2021/22 year is about R394.864 million. For programme one: administration, the revised baseline amounts to R91.625 million; for 2022/23 it is around R106.807 million.
[See presentation document for more details]
Ms Shaikh said that it would be important for MISA to provide a breakdown of the districts and municipalities that they are supporting as well as the provinces in order to assist the Committee in its oversight work to have a more constructive and in-depth engagement with the programmes. She also wanted to know if MISA has enough capacity to assist each of the provinces in the country and whether they have enough personnel.
Mr Sileku wanted to know the criteria that is used by MISA to select municipalities for support and whether the municipality have to apply for their support. He also asked MISA to provide details of the municipalities per province that they have assisted either in the last financial year or the current financial year so that the Committee can be able to talk to the municipalities during their oversight work to see where the support has succeeded and lacked. He asked MISA to provide the details of the bursaries that they are giving to students for their undergraduate programmes and the criteria and processes that are followed; He also asked the number of students that they have assisted with the bursaries and the number of those who have completed their studies through their bursary programme, including whether they are employed or unemployed.
Mr K Motsamai (EFF, Gauteng) wanted to know if MISA has assisted the Emfuleni Municipality, as the municipality is under the section 139 intervention. He said that in terms of bursaries, the youth from Emfuleni have not benefitted on anything and they could not get the NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) funding and asked whether MISA has tried to assist them in any way and if they have visited the municipality to do a needs assessment.
The Chairperson said that the intent behind why MISA was established is very noble in that they support municipalities with technical expertise, doing the actual capacity development and helping to address the infrastructure backlog at the municipal level. He also wanted to know the criteria used by MISA to support municipalities. He said that the municipality of Matlosana’s infrastructure has collapsed, the roads are in worse conditions and the municipality is it is doing little to save this situation. He wanted to know how MISA can help the municipality because the Committee needs to see the results of their intervention. He also wanted to know whether MISA’s projects such as internships and the projects that capacitate the youth and technical advisory services actually assist the municipalities to yield positive results. This is because the problems in the municipalities keep on growing. He said that in the past there was a Siyenza Manje Programme, which used retired people who are experienced in particular fields to help in municipalities. He asked if MISA has programmes similar to that and if they are part of the programme if it still exists. He said that he found it quite useful that, for example, retired engineers would go to assist municipalities with services, especially in terms of water services, wastewater and roads infrastructure.
Mr Vimba said that the Siyenza Manje Programme was de-established, and its engineering component was transferred to MISA as part of its establishment; its finance component of it was transferred to Treasury to establish what is currently called the City Support Programme. He recounted that in 2015, MISA refocused its strategy and the engineers that were transferred were individual consultants from DBSA, and MISA insourced capacity and appointed permanent experienced engineers. Those engineers are deployed to various provinces to support various prioritized districts with the implementation of municipal infrastructure programmes. Currently, MISA has capacity of over 84 engineers and planners who are in the municipalities providing support and currently within its programme, MISA has over 70 engineering young graduates and college students who are also augmenting capacity on the ground to support municipalities with the infrastructure programs and a number of other specialists that based in the head office supporting the teams in the provinces.
He said that MISA is assisting Emfuleni Municipality, as their team of engineers is based in the municipality and assisting there on a full-time basis. The team is also leading the Interdepartmental Technical Committee that is charged with the turnaround programme of Emfuleni as well as the province of Gauteng.
In terms of the criteria used by MISA to prioritise municipalities, he said that it is a combination of assessment of capacity that is done every year and by looking at the municipalities that are in distress in terms of governance, service delivery and finances through the programme led by Mr Fosi and National Treasury. He said that they prioritise their intervention based on the available resources in the municipalities after the assessment. They are going to provide the Committee the list of all the municipalities that they are targeting, as well the provinces that they are in and the municipalities that they have already supported in the current financial year, alongside the challenges and achievements that they have experienced.
On their engineering capacity, he said that they want to increase the number of students that they assist to 150, and that they have now agreed that they must work hand in hand with the experienced engineers for purposes of mentoring and supporting them towards credential registration, with the aim of creating a skills pipeline for MISA but also for the municipalities as well. He said that MISA does not have sufficient resources as their budget has been cut, but the expectations in terms of the work that they do has increased tremendously. He said that they would appreciate a little growth in their budget and added that the Minister and the Department have tried to ensure that they get the necessary support from National Treasury; the process is underway to make sure that they are supported. He added that they are also partnering with some departments as well as other stakeholders to confront some of the programmes where MISA would not have sufficient resources. For example, they have projects that they are implementing with COGTA.
Mr Sam Ngobeni, Chief Director: Technical Skills, MISA, said that in terms of the criteria for the bursaries, learnerships and candidacy programmes that they offer to undergraduate students, MISA advertised in the national papers for all those programmes but before advertising, they conducted needs analyses with municipalities, where municipalities were afforded the opportunity to express their interests to host MISA learners and candidates. This is applicable particularly to the learnership programmes and the candidacy programmes. The learnership programmes are the experiential learnership as well as the apprenticeship and then candidacy programme is the young graduate programme. He said that currently there are two young graduates who are hosted by Emfuleni Local Municipality; one of them is a Civil Engineer and the other one is a Project Construction Manager, and they both started in January 2019. They are still in the candidacy programme. In terms of the learnership and candidacy programmes yielding positive results, he said that what they would regard as positive results is if upon completion of their candidacy programmes and learnerships, the students get absorbed by the host municipalities. He said that in the current year, the absorption is very poor, as municipalities are not ready to absorb the graduates. They would request MISA to continue funding the students and, in some instances, they would request MISA to appoint them on a temporary basis. He said that they did that with some municipalities across the country where they were piloting, but very few of them were finally absorbed by the municipalities. He said that as a result of this, MISA is gradually moving towards supporting municipal officials through their artisan recognition of prior learning (RPL) programme and other programmes because those ones are already in the employ of the municipalities. It therefore makes it easy for them to immediately add value to the performance of the municipalities, in as far as infrastructure management is concerned.
Mr Luntu Ndalasi, Project Manager: Infrastructure, MISA said that amidst the challenges in the North-West province, MISA has been assigned to coordinate other sector departments to support the province, particularly in terms of roads and water. He said that MISA is chairing the infrastructure programmes and engaging the Department of Transport to support the municipalities around the road asset management system so that they can provide funding to alleviate the situation around the municipalities in the North West. He added that MISA, as part of the DDM, are leading the infrastructure sector and have called in all the departments to provide support in the programmes that have been identified within those municipalities. Some municipalities are privileged in that MISA has placed some of its engineers on an acting capacity to keep the municipalities afloat.
Ms Mapatane Kgomo, Deputy Director-General: Infrastructure Delivery Management Support, MISA, said that the other factor that MISA looks at is the municipalities’ MIG expenditure. For example, MISA introduced the key performance indicator (KPI) to support municipalities to enhance their infrastructure procurement practices by looking at the municipalities that struggled to spend their MIG allocations. She said that they target those municipalities because in most instances, the reason for the poor MIG infrastructure spending is the weak and inefficient practices on procurement applied by municipalities. She added that MISA does not have adequate capacity and that they rely mostly on establishing strategic partnerships within the public as well as in the private sector – for example, through partnering with University of Cape Town’s Faculty of Engineering, utilising the third-year students to do information collection as well as analysis on municipalities infrastructure management practices. The information is very crucial in determining the kind of support that MISA needs to provide municipalities with the objective of supporting them to improve infrastructure supply such that it is reliable and that they provide sustainable delivery of services. She said that they also have partnerships with the likes of the National Business Initiative and have put in resources to fund certain projects in Waterberg District Municipality through the DDM and are in the process of extending and expanding their partnerships because they have recognised that they do not have the adequate resources and capacity as MISA.
Mr Vimba said that as part of their strategy to build capacity, they have resolved to purchase drilling machines so that instead of having to rely on consultants for assistance with boreholes in municipalities; they can use the existing technical capacity to drill the boreholes on their own in order to ramp up access to water in the municipalities. He said that they think this will go a long way in ensuring that more people have access to water and are not constrained by the issue of resources. He added that they have also purchased software packages for design in order to build a design capacity of a specific type of infrastructure within MISA as part of their support to municipalities in reducing the overreliance on consultants and external contractors.
Minister Dlamini-Zuma thanked the Select Committee for the opportunity to present the APPs and their participation in the discussions and added that she wishes they had more resources to grow MISA to be bigger than it currently in in order to support as many municipalities as possible.
Concluding Remarks: Chairperson
The Chairperson said that the Committee is going to look at all the presentations from the DCOG, DTA and MISA and isolate issues that they think are priorities and develop their own plans as the Select Committee and engage further with the department. He said that they will do this as part of their function of oversight, holding the Department accountable in terms of their plans in terms of the budget and impact the Department has made in addressing all the issues.
He thanked the Minister, the Department as well as MISA for availing themselves for the meeting, for the responses that they gave to the questions and their enthusiasm for delivering services to the people.
The meeting was adjourned.
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